Chickens are fun and interesting little pets. They can be both resourceful and entertaining, but how do you pick the breed that is right for you? Here I’ll share some tips on how to choose the best breed of backyard chicken.
If you are reading this post, I’m assuming you’re wanting or are ready to purchase some chickens. However, there are so many options! It can be overwhelming. How are you supposed to know which one will be right for you? Do you pick one based off how cute and pretty they are? Or do you have a specific need or reason for owning a chicken?
I know there are some ‘chicken people’ out there who can’t stand the thought of eating their chicken’s eggs or worse-their chickens! And then there are others, who own and raise chickens for a purpose. No matter what category you fall under, there are some important things you need to take into consideration before you come home with a car full of chickens.
How To Choose The Best Breed Of Backyard Chicken
When deciding on what breed of backyard chicken would work best for your flock, there are some things you’ll want to consider.
Do you live somewhere really cold? Or really hot? This definitely matters when deciding what chicken breed would work best for you.
Cold tolerant chickens have thick, fluffy feathers and some have feathered legs to help protect them against the cold. Of course, they should still be provided shelter during extreme conditions. Some popular cold-tolerant chicken breeds are Silkies, Cochins, Ameraucanas, Wyandotte and Brahma Chickens.
Some popular heat tolerant chicken breeds include the Rhode Island Red, Easter Egger, Leghorn, Barred Plymouth Rock and the Orpington. The Orpington is quite popular, in fact, we have 10 and love them! They have been described as the ‘quintessential breed’ for warmer climates. They are also very docile and friendly. We love them!
When choosing a chicken breed, it’s important to know your goals. Are you wanting to replace your grocery store eggs or are you wanting your chickens to be pets with benefits? While all chickens lay, some produce more eggs than others, and in a variety of colors and sizes.
Egg laying hens typically lay an egg a day or every other day. The size and quality of the clutch will also depend on their diet and their age.
When hens are laying eggs, they should also be provided the right nesting box. This should be well-ventilated, comfortable, and private.
Popular Egg-Laying Breeds
If the color of egg is important to you (and it is to a lot of people!). Here is a guide of some popular breeds and what color egg they lay. It’s also fun to ‘mix’ your flock so you get a variety of colored eggs.
Ancona, Blue Andalusian, Campine, White Leghorn, Silkie
Australorp, Orpington, Plymouth Barred Rock, Rhode Island Red, Sussex
Green or Blue Eggs
Ameraucana, Araucana, Cream Legbar, Easter Egger
Chocolate Brown Eggs
Want a chicken that can provide both eggs and meat? You’ll definitely be wanting to consider a dual-purpose breed. Dual purpose chickens such as the Rhode Island Red, Orpington and the Australorp are wonderful choices for backyard poultry keepers because they can be excellent producers of large eggs and are among the friendliest chickens in the coop.
My daughter, Emma with her Buff Orpington, “Henny Penny”
Do you want cuddly chickens who’ll sit on your lap? There are some breeds of chickens who are more friendlier than others.
If you’re looking for a chicken breed that is good with children you should look for the following friendly chicken breeds: Brahmas, Orpingtons, Sussex, Auatralops, Rhode Island Reds, Cochins, and Wyandottes.
Every chicken has its own temperament and some breeds tend to be more aggressive or flighty than others so always keep that in mind.
How To Choose The Best Breed Of Backyard Chicken
Here’s my Top 5 Best Chicken Breeds for Beginners! All of the breeds on this list are appropriate for people who’ve never had livestock before. They tend to be easy-going, friendly, and very simple to care for.
1). Rhode Island Reds
The Rhode Island Red is one of the most popular breeds of backyard chickens because they are so friendly, calm, and easy to handle.
They are active foragers, and their feed to egg ratio is excellent. They are also a dual-purpose chicken meaning you can use them for both egg production and butcher to eat if you want.
Australorp chickens are also one of the top layers averaging 250 light brown eggs a year.
They are a very docile chicken (perfect for families with young kids!). We love our sweet girl, Black Beauty.
Australorps are perfect for colder climates, but they do not do well in severe heat. Not only are they great egg-layers but they are also a dual-purpose chicken.
3). Buff Orpington
If you’re looking for a cuddly, lap chicken but also a good dual-purpose bird then this is the breed for you! They have a high egg-laying capacity at 200-280 per year and their large size makes them a great dual purpose chicken.
We recently purchased 10 Buff Orpington’s and absolutely LOVE them. They are so friendly and get along so well with our small flock we already had.
If your main goal for getting chickens is to fill your fridge with eggs, this is your breed. They are known for laying large to extra-large white eggs in the numbers of 280-320 per year.
They’re great egg-layers but they are not a cuddly chicken so if you’re looking for a pet that is great with children, this would not be the breed for you.
5). Easter Egger
If you’re looking for a sweet bird that lays pretty eggs then look no further! Easter Eggers lay an average of 4 large eggs a week that come in a variety of colors from aqua to pink to olive and blue.
They do well in both warm and cold climates.
And there you have it. My top 5 Favorite Beginner Chicken Breeds. Of course there are literally hundreds more! Some may or may not agree with this list, but this is just to give you some ideas and help you get started!
Chickens have been such a great addition to our little farm and we love them dearly. I hope this information will be helpful to you. Happy Chicken Farming!
Want to know more about our farm? Read About Me.